Transport accounts for a quarter of the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the EU, so the decarbonisation of transport will be crucial to enable the wider transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy. In particular, under the EU’s Green New Deal, transport emissions must fall by 90% by 2050 compared to current levels, with the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which was adopted in 2020, providing a strategic roadmap to achieve this target. With almost 72% of transport's CO2 emissions attributable to road transport - and passenger vehicles comprising nearly 61% of transport CO2 emissions alone - the decarbonisation of the transport sector will rely heavily on a shift to low-carbon forms of travel (such as rail or active travel) and on the electrification of road transport vehicles.
Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a solution to the use of conventionally fuelled vehicles, and they already comprised 12.1% of new passenger vehicle registrations in 2022. However, key challenges remain to their wider adoption, in particular the availability of charging infrastructure, their affordability and the suitability of current models for all use cases. In order to address this, the Commission has published a CORDIS Results pack, which highlights a collection of 10 research projects, funded through the EU's Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation funding programme.
The lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in current EV models are a key determinant of their performance (i.e. their driving range and charging time) and comprise up to 40% of the total value of an EV. Therefore, several of the highlighted research projects sought to improve the performance of current EV battery technology, whilst reducing the negative impact of batteries on the overall affordability of EVs. These projects include:
- DEFACTO, which aimed to bring down the cost of battery packs by improving their energy density and streamlining their manufacturing process.
- SAFELiMOVE, which aimed to design an innovative battery that will improve the performance of EVs.
- COBRA, which developed a cobalt-free Li-ion battery technology that overcomes many of the current EV battery shortcomings.
There are other research projects that focused on the development of new technologies for the next generation of EVs, such as:
- FITGEN, which worked on developing and prototyping new components, systems and architectures that will lead to improved EV performance and user experience.
- URBANIZED that introduced innovations to improve urban logistics using EVs, focusing on the powertrain and the cargo body, as well as fleet management solutions.
- UPSCALE designed AI software that improves the speed of simulated safety and performance tests.
For more detail, and the full list of research projects highlighted, as well as more information on the CORDIS Results pack, visit the website.
Photo Credit: © European Union, 2023/ European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency website.